Culinary Vacation to Cuba with Otehlia Travels
TOUR DATES: Jan 19-26, 2023
If Cuba is on your bucket list, this 8-day 7-night tour is the BEST way to experience it! This tour is offered in partnership with Acubamos Tours, a legally operating licensed private tour company based in Havana, Cuba, owned by Amel Fonte. Yes, you can travel legally to Cuba. We will travel under the Support for the Cuban People visa category. Leave all the planning to us!
Let’s debunk some myths about Cuba. 1. Myth: the food isn’t good. Fact: Cuban Food is incredibly rich and innovative, especially in the city. It is organically grown, and farm to table is a way of life. 2. Myth: Nothing runs on time. Fact: I work with the best team in Cuba and every single one of my activities is vetted. Though nothing is guaranteed in life, I DO promise you that this tour is run by me and my team in Cuba, legally supporting the Cuban people, not a third party tour company. and YES, there are flights from the US to Cuba.
Cuba–a place of magic, wonder, culture, history and incredible food and natural resources.
This small group tour offers a chance to get to know the real Cuba, to head off the beaten path to discover and explore nature, culture, food and art. We have customized and curated very special activities that other tour companies don’t offer, working with local families and private business owners so you can experience the real Cuba! Traveling in Cuba is extremely safe, and the country offers a diversity of cuisine and cultural influences. Our Food & Culture tour gives you an opportunity to experience Cuba alongside the locals, with some amenities to ensure your comfort.
Spend 8 days and 7 nights enjoying cultural excursions, artisan food producers and tastings, music and more! Only 8 guests total!
Vinales/ Vinales Valley – 3 nights in a private room with private bath in local home (based on government restrictions to preserve the integrity of the area). These rooms have two twin beds.
Explore this incredible UNESCO World Heritage Center, full of mountains, caves, waterways and communities who continue to farm in the traditions of the area. tobacco farm visit, learn how honey and coffee are produced, beach day and enjoy a farm dinner with a family.
Havana – 4 nights in private home for all guests, in a walkable neighborhood. These rooms have one or two beds.
Experience the beauty and energy of Havana, Cuba. Discover the richness and variety of Cuban cuisine. Private cooking class and rum tasting, oceanfront dining experience, private dance lesson, history and walking tour of Old Havana, music, art and nightlife with time to explore and relax. Travel in Cuba is very safe! But is it right for you? If you don’t mind that sometimes you cannot find a item you are looking for in a store, you cannot use your credit cards, the power may go out and wifi can be difficult and expensive, BUT you will be in one of the most magical, warm and lively countries I’ve traveled in, then yes, this is for you.
Tobacco farm/horseback riding (optional)
Private dance class
One of a kind chef-led cooking and culture experience
Farm to Table dining
Havana history and Cuban culture tour
Rum tasting and cocktail class
Live music and nightlife
All breakfasts, 3 lunches and 6 dinners
$2399/person* – only 8 spots!
Special charitable giving price of $2249*; Single supplement $550*
Food Tour Itinerary
Arrive in Havana. Upon arrival transfer by private vehicle to Viñales, about 3 hours from Havana. Relax, unpack, and take a walk in this beautiful and friendly town before enjoying dinner at the stunning Cafe Paraiso, a farm to table restaurant set on a hillside overlooking Viñales. For our tour group, we will stay at several neighboring private rooms rented in local homes, each with a private bath and air conditioning on a quiet side street. The rooms are modest but furnished with comfortable beds and rustic decor. After dinner explore the town on your own, head to a nightclub in a cave, or relax on the porch and meet the neighbors! This town is safe and walkable.
After breakfast, we will explore Viñales Valley National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – by horse or on foot. Choose from an extended horseback riding option, exploring the trails with an experienced guide, or take private transportation and join the group on the trail. From stunning “mogotes” to expansive tobacco fields, get to know why this part of Cuba plays such an important role in preserving biodiversity and Cuban culture. We will learn about local coffee production, agriculture and taste local honey and rum! Enjoy dinner overlooking the beautiful Vinales valley while watching the sunset from the hills of Finca Paraiso, an incredible farm to table restaurant.
Tobacco Farms (horse or walk) and Viñales Valley National Park
You earned it – beach day! After a delicious breakfast, we’ll head north to Cayo Jutía in our private vehicle, a beautiful stretch of beach about 1. 5 hours north of Viñales. See the real Cuba! Relax on a beach chair or head out snorkeling or paddle boating if you want (not included). We’ll return late afternoon and shower before dinner. Dinner will be a farm party–a cookout/cooking demo with a local family on their farm. Learn how to cook traditional food of the region and enjoy it with the locals.
After an early breakfast we will head toward Havana, where we will spend the remaining days. On our way we will stop to explore the beautiful Soroa Waterfalls and Las Terrazas, an area frequented mostly by Cubans and built and preserved as an eco-town. Take a swim or just enjoy the beauty of the area. Enjoy lunch on an old coffee plantation with one of the most stunning views you can imagine. We will learn first hand about Cuban history and culture and how this area was developed intentionally to preserve the natural beauty and diversity of the region. Arrive in Havana late afternoon at our very comfortable private home with private bathrooms, air conditioning and courtyard. Relax and get ready for dinner out. After dinner we’ll check out Havana’s lively music scene!
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Soroa Waterfalls, Las Terrazas
Start your day with a delicious breakfast before heading to Centro Havana for a dance class at Marisuri school of dance with a private instructor. Get some moves for our nights out! Following class we’ll enjoy an incredible lunch prepared by Marisuri’s own personal chef showcasing traditional Cuban food. We’ll enjoy a history and culture tour of Old Havana with guide and owner of Acubamos Tours, Amel Fonte, before heading back to our house to shower and relax, or take a swim in the pool or ocean! Explore Havana by night taking in live music, dancing, or just relax at our home.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Dance Class at Marisuri and City History Tour
Enjoy breakfast in our Havana home, and then indulge in a very special hands-on cooking class and cocktail class and tasting with Chef Alina from Hecho en Casa, one of the best privately owned Farm to Table restaurants in Havana. Chef Alina herself says the class will not be a just a class but an “experience” taking you through Cuba via the food. She is an incredible chef who has elevated Cuban cuisine to another level. After we enjoy the lunch we learn to cook, we’ll have a free afternoon to shop for souvenirs or just relax and enjoy the sun!
Cooking through Cuba with Chef Alina
We’ll spend the day relaxing and enjoying the festivities in the city, sightseeing or shopping before heading back to an ocean view restaurant for dinner.
Departure day. We’ll start out with a wonderful breakfast and soak in the sounds of the city before taking you and all your rum and cigars to the airport in our private van. (Actually buying rum duty free in the airport is a great option:)
Owner, Guide and Event Host
Otehlia founded Otehlia Travels, LLC in 2021, and has been a leader in the travel and tourism industry for over 10 years. International group travel comes naturally to her! She led her first international tour to Mali, West Africa in the late 1990’s when she brought a group of dancers to study there. She made group travel her official job in 2011 when she led her first culinary tour to Mexico. She eventually added culinary tours to Cuba, and then finally in 2021, she launched Otehlia Travels, LLC, a dedicated travel brand.Read More
Deposits/Payments: Cost is $2,399/person double occupancy. To hold your spot in the tour a $500 non-refundable deposit is required. This can be paid by check (address below) or Paypal (may incur fees). Any single supplement charge should also be included with the deposit. You will get an email reminder when payment is due.
Final non-refundable payment is due 60 days before the course/tour in US dollars. You can also choose to send full payment in advance of the course/tour.
Charitable giving option: IF you travel with one checked bag filled with supplies from a list I will give you that you have purchased or collected to donate to the Cuban people, the cost is $2299.
Single supplement: $550 ensures a private room for the trip. In some cases there is one bed and some places twin beds. If you travel solo and don’t pay the single supplement you may room with another traveler. it is also possible that you would have the room to yourself if no one else books.
Refunds and adjustments: There will be no refunds or adjustments for unused portion of the tour. The $500 deposit is non-refundable.
Otehlia Travels Vacation Booking Form
Tour Policies and Procedures
Covid Protocol and Safety Measures:
We will adhere to local mask mandates and safety protocol.
If you test positive and must quarantine, you will be fully responsible for any fees associated with your stay including but not limited to health care costs and lodging. By joining the tour each participant voluntarily agrees to assume all of the foregoing risks and accept sole responsibility for any injury (including, but not limited to personal injury, disability, and death), illness, damage, loss, claim, liability or expense of any kind that they may experience or incur in connection with their Madison Eats Food Tours trip and its activities.
Cancellation and Refund: If Otehlia Travels cancels the tour, all fees paid MINUS your $500 deposit (service fee) will be refunded. We strongly encourage trip insurance in case of unforeseen events that result in the cancellation of your trip.
Travel Insurance: Otehlia Travels requires travel insurance for all travelers with at least basic coverage for trip cancellation, delay or interruption. Two companies that offer insurance that I recommend are AIG or Allianz. You can get a quote from AIG and also Allianz offers it. You definitely need to read the fine print regarding Covid-related coverage. You would purchase your own coverage. There are various levels, but at a baseline, you want trip cancellation or delay, and medical emergency – Once you reach out to a provider, you can see the basic coverage and additions. For travel to Cuba, Cuba requires medical insurance and that is usually included in your ticket purchase (flight). We travel to Cuba under “support for the Cuban people”.
A) Minimum Group Size:
Otehlia Travels’ trips are priced based on a minimum group size that varies by trip, making our trips financially viable to operate. Otehlia Travels reserves the right to cancel any trip if the trip does not attract the minimum number of clients required to make the trip financially viable. Otehlia Travels will not, however, cancel a trip due to minimum group size any later than 60 days prior to the commencement of the trip. In the event of cancellation, Otehlia Travels shall not, in any case, be responsible for nonrefundable expenses incurred by the client, including, but not limited to airline cancellation fees or insurance purchases.
Alternatively, clients may choose to pay a small group surcharge that would be assessed to each guest in groups that fall below the minimum group size, which avoids us having to cancel the trip.
B) Force Majeure:
Otehlia Travels reserves the right to cancel a trip at any stage prior to the scheduled departure due to terrorism, natural disasters, political instability or other external events which make it unviable for Otehlia Travels to operate our planned schedule. In such a case, Otehlia Travels will, at its own discretion, refund a portion of the trip price (less incurred costs and the non-refundable deposit), reschedule the tour, or offer an alternative tour. Should the client choose to purchase “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) insurance coverage, and the tour becomes unviable for Otehlia Travels to operate or reschedule, Otehlia Travels will cover the client’s CFAR deductible up to 25% of the price of the tour.
If you wish to change your booking in any way, you must contact us as soon as possible and we will accommodate your request to the best of our ability. Surcharges may apply.
SUBSTITUTION OF A CLIENT
If any member of the party is prevented from traveling because of the death, injury or serious illness of the passenger, close relative or friend, redundancy or jury service, it may be possible to transfer the booking to another suitable person (acceptable to Otehlia Travels) provided that written notice is given at least 30 days prior to departure. An administration fee of up to $150 may be imposed by the company to cover non-refundable costs. Airlines may impose 100% cancellation charges and the cost of a new ticket.
Photography release: The tour participants permits Otehlia Travels, LLC to photographs, films, images, text, testimonials of participants for its own commercial use without compensation to participants.
Any dispute related to these terms and conditions or the program itself, directly or indirectly shall be settled solely in the courts of Madison, WI. In such litigation, Wisconsin law will apply.
*Does not include round trip airfare to Havana, Covid testing costs, airport taxes, personal expenses, travel insurance, alcoholic beverages or tips to housekeeping, etc. Includes Cuban visa and shipping, meals, alcoholic beverages and excursions as specified in itinerary as well as tips to staff and guides for included excursions.